Widespread Weekend Precipitation Event

The closed area of low pressure that is going to responsible for precipitation this weekend is still off the coast of Southern California. You know what that means–it is difficult to have a great deal of confidence on stormtrack until it not only gets onshore but safely makes it into Arizona. When I look at its current location it makes me wonder if the models are too fast with the onset of precipitation tomorrow. At the moment there is good agreement that that snow will start mid to late afternoon in the higher elevations (8,500+), with rain below 8,000 starting after dark. Just because they all agree, doesn’t make it so. We will see.

Using that model guidance the heaviest rain and snow would fall very late Saturday night and Sunday after midnight through late morning Sunday. I am going to have to follow up with that first thing Saturday morning so stay tuned for that.

I sense that a lot of people living below 8,500′ elevation like me, at this point, just want the moisture in whatever form it might be. If the Ski Resorts can pick up moderate to heavy snow and everyone else picks up decent rain, that would be a big win.

The GFS is leading the way with the highest totals. Thursday evening and overnight last night the GFS and Canadian were pretty close to the Euro. But then this morning happened and both models have gone a bit off the rails cranking up the totals into possibly a great wishcast.

As much as I would like to believe what they are selling until I see the Euro jump on board they look a bit dubious and overpromising to me. Why you ask? The latest skills test that came out this week still shows the Euro leading in accuracy, with the Canadian coming in second while the GFS is in third place. They are not graded on precipitation amounts but rather the 500 MB trough position which basically dictates the storm track.

As the trough passes, wherever that may be, snow could lower to at least 6,500 feet Sunday morning, at that point most of the precipitation should be leaving the area, so we may see a little bit of snow in the lower elevations, but more importantly, I will be watching the potential for flash freezing early Sunday morning near sunrise to 8 am in mid and lower elevations of the 160 and 550 corridors–hint CDOT…

So what can we expect? Since most of us will be seeing liquid precip I will share that with the snow amounts from each of the 3 main models. Tomorrow I will update this so don’t take it to the bank yet. I am never comfortable with the higher resolution models until the day of the storm so I will also highlight those tomorrow morning. Wolf Creek could do very well with this event. I have had a number of emails and comments about travel from Denver on Sunday, I will talk more about travel concerns after the model highlights.

Here are the GFS’ liquid totals, again, wait to get too excited about this.


GFS snow


Canadian liquid


Canadian snow


Euro liquid


Euro snow


As far as traveling goes, you can see just by the totals throughout the state that there are some differences in the storm track. Here are a couple of snapshots from the Euro for Sunday morning. Remember the lightest blue is light snow, medium blue is moderate and the darkest blues are heavy snow.

Euro 5am Sunday

euro5 am

Euro 8am Sunday

eurosunday 8am

Euro 11 am Sunday

euro 11am

Euro 2 pm Sunday

euro 2pm

That heavy band above is over Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

Euro 5 pmeuro 5pm

Make sure you check back throughout the day tomorrow because as the afternoon short term models come in I am seeing some differences in the storm track that could lead to higher totals in some areas (if correct).

I will have an update around 7 am tomorrow, the next by 2 pm. There is still time to get your cars washed before this all starts! Thanks for following.

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